The lead singer of Dream Theater talks with SN&R as band readies for its only Nor Cal stop on July 24

By Eddie Jorgensen

The legendary Dream Theater kicked off its 29-city ‘Dreamsonic 2023’ tour this summer in Texas and plans to make only one stop in the Golden State before ending its run in Arizona. The band’s latest record, ‘A View from The Top of The World,’ produced the Grammy award-winning single “The Alien.”

At its core, Dream Theater is still the powerhouse quintet of James LaBrie ib vocals, John Petrucci on guitar, Jordan Rudess on keyboards, John Myung on bass and Mike Mangini on drums.

We caught up with LaBrie and git the lowdown on all things Dream Theater related to the current tour.

SN&R: Your latest album was the first to be recorded at your band’s studio. Will that be the trend going forward?

LaBrie: If we are referring to my solo album, yes this will continue to be the case. It makes perfect sense and I get the optimum results which is what the goal is. As for [Dream Theater], I might consider the writing phase of an album from the vicinity of my home studio as I did while in the writing sessions for the last DT album due to COVID.

SN&R: You have many core fans that want to hear ‘Images and Words’ in its entirety (30th anniversary was last year). Will you do any special run of shows for each of the earlier records?

LaBrie: I am 100% confident we will begin paying homage to many of our earlier albums as they achieve notable anniversaries.

SN&R: The undercard on your tour – Devin Townsend and Animals as Leaders – is quite ambitious. Were they handpicked by the band or your agent?

LaBrie: It has always been our choice as to who we think best fits as an opener.

SN&R: Was there more material written for the latest record that will find its way into a later release? Any working title for next record?

LaBrie: Well, we have plenty of ideas and what one would refer to as left over material, but it almost always never finds its way onto the next album as we have plenty of current ideas that are more in line as to where we see the album’s direction going.

SN&R: What is the hardest thing about touring in today’s climate? I am hearing horror stories about rising costs being the reason American bands can’t tour overseas. Anything special you guys do to lower your carbon footprint and save some dollars on the road?

LaBrie: Well, first, I’m not informed enough to make a sound estimate on our carbon footprint. That is the job and therefore knowledge of those that specialize in that particular field. As for costs, every band on this planet has been impacted by the exponential rising costs of most or all resources, no matter what continent or market you are touring.

SN&R: I was introduced to your solo material with the fabulous ‘Prime Cuts’ compilation on Magna Carta. Do you have more material, and will there be a US solo tour with full backing band?

LaBrie: At this point my focus is on DT’s current North American tour. Post the DT world, the goal is to start recording new ideas that Paul Logue and I have for the follow up to my last solo album ‘Beautiful Shade of Grey’. The line-up of players will remain the same as they (Marco Sfogli, Christian Pulkkinen and Chance LaBrie) were integral to the album’s songs and sound.

Devin Townsend and Animals as Leaders open Dream Theater’s all-ages show on July 24 at the San Jose Civic Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $55 to $85 and can be purchased at The San Jose Civic Center is located at 135 West San Carlos Street in San Jose.

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